In case you missed it: this week’s good reads about Pennsylvania cities

     The Reliance Fire Company (pictured) and the Hope Fire Company plan to merge as a cost cutting measure in Philipsburg, Pa. Read the <a href=full story about the fire companies. (Kate Lao Shaffner/WPSU) " title="reliance_fire_co_1200" width="640" height="360"/>

    The Reliance Fire Company (pictured) and the Hope Fire Company plan to merge as a cost cutting measure in Philipsburg, Pa. Read the full story about the fire companies. (Kate Lao Shaffner/WPSU)

    We hope you’ve had a good week!

    Here’s our roundup of recommended reading:

    Education

    We’ve rolled out Parts 5 and 6 of our series of podcasts and explainers about Pa. education funding:  

    Part 5 answers the question, “Which Pa. school districts get the highest percentage of aid from the state? (Spoiler: it’s not Philadelphia.) 

    Part 6 breaks down Gov. Wolf’s plan for new education spending.

    The Carlisle school district isn’t banking on the extra money outlined in the governor’s proposal. (Cumberlink)

    Lancaster Online crunched the numbers and found that despite a state law limiting school tax increases, districts have raised millage rates higher than official inflation rates.

    A Bethlehem charter school expansion case is moving up to the state Supreme Court. (Lehigh Valley Live)

    Pensions

    Pa.’s GOP is rolling out its pension overhaul plan. Here’s what we know so far.

    (The Pennsylvania State Education Association, for one, doesn’t like it.) (Altoona Mirror)

    Barry Shutt has made it his personal goal to bring attention to the need for state pension reform. He sits at the Capitol with a sign that says “Borrowing money is not a fix. It kicks the can down the road and steals from our children and grandchildren.”

    Penn Live put together a database of former Pennsylvania employees’ pensions and found almost 1,000 collect six figures in pension benefits every year. (via Lehigh Valley Live)

    Need a primer on Pa.’s pension issue? Check out our series. And keep tabs on pension-related news.

    Transit

    Our reporter tries to get from Point A to Point B via bus — without planning ahead — and finds Philly’s bus system is just not designed for that kind of travel. But Pittsburgh has plans to make on-the-go planning easier. 

    Korea reduced its child traffic deaths by 95 percent between 1988 and 2012. TheCityFix looks at city design that prioritizes children’s safety.

    Etc.

    Volunteer firefighters say they’re spending more time fundraising than fighting fires, and it’s making it hard to recruit much-needed volunteers.

    Where’s the worst place to live if you have asthma? Philadelphia and Allentown make the top 20 US list.

    Pennsylvania has the fourth highest percentage of residents 65 and older. How can cities prepare for their aging populations?

    65 over 1200 FINAL

    Pittsburgh’s Wilkinsburg neighborhood is trying to attract residents by giving them a tour of vacant homes. (WESA)

    The Pa. House voted to cut the size of the General Assembly, but will it actually happen? It’s a long shot. (WITF)

    Harrisburg is developing a long-term city plan for first time since the 70s. (WITF)

    Late councilwoman thanks Pittsburghers in posthumous letter, calling her service “an honor and a privilege.” (WESA)

    The state’s Independent Fiscal Office says Pa.’s economic outlook is “pretty solid.” (York Dispatch)

    Recidivism rates have dropped in Pa. (WITF)

    Harrisburg leaders are holding a town hall meeting this weekend to discuss riots and race. (Penn Live)

    The construction of Allentown’s PPL Center, touted as a boon for the local economy, went 3.4 million dollars over budget. (The Morning Call)

    Centre County residents are up in arms against a development plan they say will put water supply at risk. (Centre Daily Times)

    For fun

    I love this: “Spotimap” uses Wikipedia and Spotify to map out songs and generate playlists by cities mentioned. (via CityLab)And also from CityLab: The world mapped as pop art and Legos 

    Did you know actress/comedian Kristen Wiig is from Lancaster? She talked about her childhood (and whether she has a “Pennsylvania accent”) in a recent interview with Interview magazine. (Lancaster Online)

    Are you a comics fan? If so, it’s a good weekend to be in Pa. (The Morning Call)

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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